Thursday, August 31, 2017

Claremont College Suspends Rioters!

By Professor Doom

     Across the country, our students have been trained to believe that it’s fine to use violence to prevent someone from speaking. While years ago, a riot to prevent a speaker was major news, now they’re so common that even local newspapers hardly consider it worth covering.

      The reason we have these riots is our schools are populated with, well, non-students. The reason our schools are populated with non-students is because the administration of those schools don’t care: they’re paid based on butts-in-seats, and the butts need not even be in seats, merely registered as students.

      A very basic idea to stop the riots is to get rid of the rioters, but, across the country, admin just doesn’t have the spine/integrity/intelligence to do the right thing.

      Back in April, Heather McDonald tried to give a speech at Claremont College, and protesters attempted to prevent people from hearing what she had to say. This was not simply holding signs, they were physically blocking the doors and access to the venue.

     Other schools have sought to placate the protesters, giving them boons for their thuggish behavior. Claremont wisely decided upon a different tactic:

      To be fair, only 7 students (of approximately 170 rioters) received disciplinary action based on their inappropriate behavior but….YES!

The College followed a full, fair, and impartial student conduct process before the determination of findings, sanctions, and the resolution of appeals. Efforts to politicize and interfere with this process had no influence on timing or decisions. Students had an opportunity to be heard, pose questions, ask for further investigation, and raise objections throughout the process. The independent panel of three (one panelist each from the faculty, staff, and student body) determined their findings of responsibility on a preponderance of video and photographic evidence and a limited amount of witness testimony. Sanctions were based on the nature and degree of leadership in the blockade, the acknowledgment and acceptance of responsibility, and other factors.
--emphasis added.

        As per the emphasis above, the students here were allowed to speak—I wonder how many refused to speak, since such a refusal would demonstrate they honestly believe people should not be allowed to say what they will. I really wish I could learn this about these students, because knowing these students are intellectually honest about their beliefs would lead me to reconsider the possibility they are wrongheaded. Too bad, and ultimately we should pay attention to the people running the place anyway.

     The people running our schools call themselves “leaders” but they really should be stewards. A steward protects and cares for the school and that’s why I cheer the actions of the self-proclaimed leadership at McKenna College. By showing the student base there that violent opposition to opposing ideas will not be tolerated, the administration is taking an action that will help to preserve the school’s integrity, and thus the school.

      Compare to Mizzou, which has a policy of endless appeasement of rioters. Instead of teaching rioters that such behavior will be punished, the rioters instead learned that violence and threats of violence will get rewards. The end result of Mizzou’s leadership? Their student base is dropping, as nobody in their right mind wants to go to a school notorious for riots and with a reputation for anything but education. They’re closing their dorms for lack of students, and may well close the school in a few years if the appeasement continues. Mizzou has leaders, not stewards, so I’m sure they’ll get massive golden parachutes for their leadership when the school closes.

     Back to Claremont. Only 5 students were removed from campus for their anti-civilization behavior, and then only suspensions; seeing as nobody was physically hurt, I’m not about to argue with the fairly light penalties. It’s at least something, and will do far more for education at that school than additional appeasement.

      The Left-wing Hate media naturally will not respect Claremont’s ruling:

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf complained that the school's punishment for the student protesters was “overly harsh.”

He quoted Nana Gyamfi, a human rights lawyer based in Los Angeles, who said Black Lives Matter was “justified” for shutting down conservative events because they felt their lives were “threatened.”

An example from Gyamfi was that once in 2015, an “anonymous figure” posted a death threat on a Google document that was created by an alumnus of the school to promote racial diversity.

Friedersdorf said he wouldn't go so far as to describe Mac Donald as a threat to students' safety, but he still thinks the college should have promoted a culture of free and open debate instead of clamping down on the students without proper warning.

     Wait, what? You need to warn students that they’ll be punished for engaging in violence and threatening behavior? I’m sorry, I know they’re still sort-of kids, but a year’s suspension (the heaviest sentence, on three of the 170 students involved) won’t end their lives, and might give them a chance to re-dedicate themselves to education…instead of more violence.

      The Atlantic ran a full on hit piece against Claremont, trying to make it look like admin was coming down on the wrong people. It’s an embarrassingly bad representation of events at Claremont; I won’t even dignify the piece with clarifications. The gentle reader should note carefully: there’s not a single comment regarding this piece of “journalism.” From this we can gather how many readers take The Atlantic’s coverage seriously. Much like with CNN, many Left-wing Hate media sites have lost considerable readership due to being caught being unarguably wildly dishonest on so many occasions.

      In any event, we now have something important: Claremont is taking a completely different response to the riots. Now we just have to sit back and see if the riots continue. If they do, then the “leaders” who continue their policies of appeasement will at least have some defense for their spineless behavior.

      This is exactly why we need to allow opposing points of view. If all our institutions all had no choice but to think the same way about everything, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see if maybe there’s another solution to rioting besides appeasement followed by further appeasement.

       I suspect the riots will end at Claremont, and then, I hope, I won’t be so alone in holding the appeasers in such contempt.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Admin Lies To Keep Conservative From Campus

By Professor Doom

     I know my title is unsurprising on two levels, since administration lies about everything, always, and it’s well known that conservative thinkers aren’t allowed to speak on our campuses now…but the title says so much all the same.

     Even if conservatism is fundamentally wrong, fundamentally flawed, the worst thing that ever happened to humanity…conservatives should still be allowed to have their say. It’s a simple fact, to judge by the  last election, that about half the country still thinks people  should not be slaves to a government master no matter how much the master says he has really, really, good intentions.

     Even if those “deplorable” people are wrong, their numbers indicate their ideas should be heard. If those are ideas are so wrong…then there could not possibly be harm in talking about and, supposedly, laughing at them in the same way we laugh at CNN’s endless doubling down of their false narratives (on their shows, at least, even as their employees readily admit they’re peddling bullsh*t).

      The other part of title is important, too.  Part of why the USSR collapsed in the end was the leadership was so incompetent, so hypocritical, so brazen in their wildly inaccurate belief in their own superiority, that the people simply could no longer put up with it, as there was no longer even a tiniest iota of possibility that the system of government of the USSR was doing any good for the people.

     We’ve got to be getting close to that point in higher education, as their latest lie is over the top.

     So, noted conservative Ben Shapiro bravely decides to come to Berkeley, accepting the invitation from Berkeley student group Young America’s Foundation (YAF).. And, of course, the leaders of Berkeley move to stop it:

     No, this isn’t really news, every time a conservative tries to speak this happens. But let’s look at the lie:

“…administrators have informed YAF and BCR that they are “unable to identify an available campus venue.” 

     The article I’ve linked to just lets this slide but…what a lie. Is it a space consideration? According to wiki, no:

Core Campus 178 acres (72 ha)[4]
Total land owned 6,679 acres (2,703 ha)[5]

     There’s a solid 6,500 acres they’re not using, so plenty of space if they wanted to have the talk outside. Are there no buildings? Well, they have half a dozen major construction projects underway right now, along with usual plethora of other construction jobs. Like most every campus, Berkeley has been on a madcap building spree for decades. They’re even building a senior living center…we really, really, need to ask why our campuses are so nuts about construction projects.

      In any event, if Berkeley has space to build an old folks’ home on campus, then they have plenty of building space.

      Maybe they just don’t have a room large enough? Nope:

Classes can be massive. Organic chem was 800 students. Biochem was about 400. These were upper division courses. Lower division courses are worse.

      Wow, if they have a classroom which seats 1800, and many other classes that seat hundreds, then they have a room large enough for a speaker who supposedly isn’t going to talk about anything anyone wants to hear, right?

      The idea that they just can’t find a place for Shapiro is such an obvious, blatant lie, but such fall easily from administrative lips. Back to the linked article:

Student Organization Coordinator…Morris Chaney denied the students’ request for a venue for September 14, 2017, despite what the Morris Chaney calls “extensive efforts.”

--note the title is twice as long as the holder’s name, a good indicator of a position that could be closed, thereby improving education at this education institution.

     “Extensive efforts”? HAHAHahahahaha. It took me all of ten minutes to identify 6,000 acres and many rooms large enough for the talk.

     How do you, as a conservative student, sit there and listen to this crap, knowing, as a student, of the many rooms large enough to hold a talk? Did I mention the stadium? It seats 63,000.

     But no room for Shapiro, as I'm sure the gentle reader is shocked, shocked, to hear.

     How can half the country still tolerate their tax dollars going to institutions which promote ideas “they” find positively repulsive (as per the presidential election), knowing that the rulers of those institutions are now not even trying to make their lies believable?

     To be fair, Berkeley admin knows their lie won’t hold up to even casual scrutiny, and so they are already lining up other pretexts:

The administrator states that Berkeley can only host Shapiro “when events are held at a time and location that allow for the provision of any required security measures.”
Berkeley has not yet provided any alternative times, dates, or locations.

     Now, I grant that considering the kinds of violent thugs Berkeley admin supports means that, yes, they should be concerned with security. They should always be concerned about security, as their favored thugs are a violent lot and will turn on each other at some point (and I don’t quite understand why admin are so perfectly confident these thugs will never target admin…).

      Shapiro did speak on campus recently before. How’d that turn out?

Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley in April 2016, with no security problems of any kind.

      I totally understand administrative spinelessness, and I do wish they’d start using simple ideas for cutting down the campus riots (incidentally, the campus I discuss in that link is still getting riots, despite all the administrative concessions…yeah, a shock, I know). Berkeley admin is already scared of Milo and Coulter, so I suspect they’re just trying to do the same. It remains to be seen if Ben Shapiro will force the issue, but the fact remains:

      Our campus leadership is now at the point where they’re willing to tell blatant, ridiculous lies rather than the simple truth: they’re terrified of what the people they’ve allowed on campus will do if admin displeases them.

       After finally being called out on their lies, admin changes their mind:

      So, were they lying then, or are they lying now? I mean, they could easily change their mind again, right? They’re certainly making it hard for the event to happen. Shouldn’t such highly paid leaders be able to make simple decisions like this and follow through with a bit of reliability?

       We have to be getting close to the point where people just won’t support such insane institutions.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Adjunct Exploitation Now In The UK

By Professor Doom

     In the US, most college courses are now taught by adjuncts: minimally paid “temporary” professors who will work at the same job for 15 years or more before realizing they’re being played for suckers.

     Now, yes, I know things are tough all over, and lots of people are struggling to get by on minimum wage (though adjuncts actually get paid less than minimum wage, thanks to quirks in the law). There’s a difference here, and it’s not simply the bias of someone who works in higher ed.

      We’re burying our kids in debt, in exchange for education. We’re told constantly that no price is too great for education. We’re told nothing is more valuable than education. And we’re told this repeatedly from a very young age.

      So, yes, it’s a real problem when we take our academics, who supposedly have all this precious education…and pay them less than minimum wage. You can’t have it both ways: either being educated is worth something (so we should pay academics a living wage), or it’s not (so we shouldn’t charge ridiculous amounts for it).

     The UK is steadily adopting the American method of higher education: low content, high price. It’s been depressing watching them make all the same mistakes that we made over here, and, yes, one of those mistakes is the very poor treatment of the academics:

     The takeover of higher education by an administrative class with no education, and no respect for education, has, as anyone might guess, been bad for education.

     I hated it when I was at a skeezy community college, being lectured on how to teach by a Dean that had never taught a course in her life, much less taught mathematics, much less even had a degree in anything remotely resembling mathematics. And every semester yet another mandatory meeting where yet another Educationist who’d never taught a course would lecture all the faculty for a few hours on even more ridiculous methods of teaching that obviously weren’t going to work…honest, it wasn’t like this when actual educators had influence over education.

      Even more insulting about it all is admin gets to control the pay. They have a choice: pay themselves and the faculty, or just pay themselves, and watch the faculty starve. The latter has basically what’s happened in the US, and is now happening in the UK. I should point out that not only is this bad for faculty, it’s also bad for the kids: across the country, our college students are often going deep into debt to be taught by the cheapest possible faculty admin could find, and often this is because the faculty are teaching the most worthless coursework possible (honest, it’s not an accident Gender Studies courses are taught in huge auditoriums everywhere, while real computer courses are simply not an option on many campuses).

 One friend, employed on three consecutive one-year teaching contracts in the same department, wasn’t even told that he hadn’t been shortlisted for interview when the job was advertised again.

      It’s not merely the poor pay and horrid working conditions that are foul, it’s the complete lack of respect. I had a friend, a Ph.D. in mathematics with publications, show up the first week of classes asking where his office was. Only then did admin decide telling him his contract had been cancelled was worth doing…they could have told him 6 months earlier, but since admin no longer lives like faculty, the concept was alien to them.

     And the UK is now adopting this sort of treatment policy.

What percentage of your salary can you afford to spend on trains and extra rent? (One academic household I know has actually developed a formula to crunch the numbers). But with employment conditions getting increasingly dire, we now also have somehow to attempt to determine whether the pay we take home will even equate to the minimum wage.

--minimum wage is what government imposes on private business, but it exempts itself from such rules.

     One of the weird changes in higher education in the last 20 years is how faculty are no longer tied to an institution. It used to be that you spent the bulk of your career in one or two universities (even the ridiculously in-demand Einstein spent most of his career in two places)…you had a vested interest in making your school great, in having integrity and working to produce good graduates, because it reflected well on you, your family, and your future.

      Now it’s common for adjuncts to work at 3 different schools simultaneously, spending as much time commuting as teaching, each doing 1/3 of a full time job at each school. It saves admin enough money to afford those 6 and 7 digit salaries the administrators receive (for all the hard work they put in hiring a bunch of adjuncts).

     Instead of 3 adjuncts working 3 part time jobs at 3 different schools, each place could give each of them a full time job. Gee, this would save a fortune on gasoline, and would allow the teachers to spend more time on their families, or in preparation for their students. Admin sure talks a good talk about the environment, about family time, and about helping students, but they’re not going to lift a finger if doing anything about it might cut into feathering their own nests, after all.

 If things get tight on your academic’s salary of under £15,000, perhaps you can pick up a few bar shifts or freelance gigs.

--at current exchange rates this is less than $16,000 in US money, and the poverty level here is $20,000…like I said, the UK is adopting the US higher education system quite thoroughly.

     Even though these are “part time” positions, the teaching loads are quite heavy. This is bad, because in order to get hired as an academic, you have to have a record of research as well as teaching…a record you can’t establish if you’re working triple shifts at 3 universities just to get by.

      If you can get research done, realize it counts for nothing in your current job, it just means you might get another adjunct job down the road.

      Academics in the UK are feeling the squeeze academics in the US felt a decade or two ago:

And this demand for unpaid research is where the gradual creep of exploitation really starts to rub. We’ve got used to nine- and 10-month contracts and how they make maternity leave, caring responsibilities, and mortgages almost impossible; how they effectively exclude from academia anyone who lacks a middle-class safety net. We’re used to working many more hours than we’re paid for, at every level, from graduate teaching assistants like me to the professoriate. We’re getting used to the fact that research and publications will have to be done late at night and through the weekend, often without payment.

     When I was in graduate school, I was surrounded by many smart graduate students. Strangely, the smartest ones, the ones I went to for help, left, often without getting a degree well within their grasp. They saw what I was too dim to see: higher education was not the good career choice it was years ago.

      The adjunct I’m quoting from (and making these observations anonymously, of course) is starting to see that what’s happening in the UK is what smart people saw in the US years ago:

Maybe you would be better just going full-time at that minimum-wage job instead.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Ridiculously High Value of Diversity

By Professor

     I’ve mentioned quite a few times the insanely high administrative pay of higher education. Even the most irrelevant Dean can now command a salary well past $100,000 a year, and this is all quite public information.

      It isn’t just the salary that is ridiculous, it’s the sheer number of administrators on campus now. If there’s a problem in one of my classes, I could potentially receive 8 different e-mails from various bosses letting me know about it (note: this is direct experience. Much like in Office Space, I have received communications from multiple bosses regarding the same trivial issue, on more than one occasion).

      The biggest growth in administration is Diversity. Trust me, no administrator anywhere wants to be viewed as not being for Diversity, for social justice, and everything associated with it. So, many campuses open up Diversity fiefdoms, and pack them full of Vice Presidents of Diversity.

      The qualifications for this subject are minimal. Just say you’re for social justice, and you’re in. I’m not exaggerating. Heck, you can get accepted into a top school like Stanford just by writing #BlackLivesMatter a hundred times on your application. I can’t make this stuff up.

      To get my faculty position at a good school, I need to have advanced degrees and a strong record of scholarship. I’m not starving or even asking for higher pay, but if money were what I wanted, I could throw away my nigh 30 years of experience and flawless track record, retrain as a plumber, trade in my pencil for a shovel and make more than what I do now.

      On the other hand, I could just shout “Black Lives Matter” and be qualified for a Vice President of Diversity position. What kind of money would I make doing that? A recent article looks at the plunder ripe for the taking:

     Granted, “big bucks” is in the eye of the beholder, so let’s put some numbers down:

Although the average salary for a diversity officer was approximately $175,000, at 15 universities the position offers remuneration in excess of $200,000, while in two cases the salary tops $300,000 per annum.

   I’d be quadrupling my pay just by shouting “black lives matter” loudly. Hey, no wonder we have so many people on campus shouting slogans instead of studying…why isn’t there widespread outrage at pissing away such huge quantities of money on pabulum like this? It took humanity thousands of years to master the concepts of mathematics and science, but these concepts are apparently nearly worthless next to being able to chant slogans and threaten violence to people you disagree with.

      I’ve targeted Poo Bahs for their insane pay, but at least taxpayers are forced to only pay for one of those creatures on each campus. The gentle reader should understand that you don’t get just one “diversity officer,” you get a fiefdom of such creatures, and that could mean dozens of Vice Presidents of Diversity, sucking down money at an average of $175,000 per year, apiece….and all they’re doing is making our institutions worse. It’s their job, you see.

Two academic institutions — the University of Tennessee and the University of Maine — do not provide funding for a diversity officer or task a senior administrator to provide the service. 

     Maine and Tennessee don’t have diversity officers. You know what else they don’t have? Riots. I’ve made over 500 posts to my blog, detailing atrocities and incidents. When I type in “Maine” in the search bar, there are zero entries. Tennessee only gets one entry, and it’s incidental and certainly not a riot.

       When I walk into a McDonalds (hypothetically), there’s a little set up where I can procure napkins or utensils, for free! It’s not really free, I know when I pay for their pseudofood the cost of the napkins is accounted for. You know what? Every restaurant I go to provides that service…because they know it’s absolutely necessary that their customers have access to such things. If a restaurant tried not offering free napkins and such to customers (assuming such existed), you can bet it would promote its lower prices as a feature.

     How is it that Tennessee and Maine don’t provide the (insanely expensive) Diversity service? Could it be because the service is completely useless and the customers don’t even want it? Could the lack of riots and similar insane behavior be taken as evidence that, yes, having Vice Presidents of Diversity is bad for education?

       Shouldn’t we as citizens get this kind of information, and have some options about buying this Diversity service? You want to bet that a school that said “we don’t have Vice Presidents of Diversity here, but our tuition is $400 cheaper” would have an advantage? Well, it would have an advantage, but seeing as the “free” Diversity service is paid for by the student loan scam, there’s just no reason to keep costs under control.

      It’s hysterical to hear the justifications for the pay:

“…his counterpart at the University of Texas at Austin…makes $331,000.
The media relations manager at the University of Texas at Austin justified…income on the basis of the diversity officer’s coveted “portfolio” that includes the ambiguous distinctions of “diversity, community engagement and outreach.”

…“His salary reflects the competitive market for his leadership skills, as seen in his recent hiring as the next president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.”

--we probably should ask about the Media Relations Manager’s income too, considering the length of the title.

     Ambiguous, indeed. I bet not a single student at U of Texas could explain how this Diversity Officer impacted his education or research. Education and research are the only things the university should care about, and yet Diversity merits some $331,000 a year.

      And then comes the crazy grunt about “Leadership.” I’ve discussed before how much higher education has changed, but it merits repetition. It’s not about leadership. Here’s an old mission statement regarding the purpose of higher ed:

--I really recommend the above post, it’s important we realize what’s going on now.

       Today’s mission statements are more about retention, but they also grunt about “leadership.” Again no: we don’t need leaders running our schools, we need stewards who understand what education is about.

        We won’t get stewards, however. Instead we’re going to get Diversity officers, people whose job it is to raise tensions and cause riots on our campuses. Without the riots, without the tension…it’d be even more obvious we don’t need these guys.

       Knowing that they’re paid salaries the average American could only fantasize about is merely insult to the grievous injury they’re dealing to our universities.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Research = White Supremacy

Tweets The Media Ignores

By Professor Doom

     It’s sickening and yet amusing watching the media go nuts over every Trump tweet. Don’t get me wrong, sure he’s said some odd things (which get focused on ad infinitum), but he’s also said some relevant things (which the media diligently ignores).

      Tweeting is a strange way to communicate. You’re supposed to say something quickly, and moreover broadcast it everywhere instantaneously, so that it is preserved forever. Gee, isn’t that a recipe for disaster?

     Faculty already know better than to post much on Facebook, as we’ve been fired for daring to question “the narrative” there, so no, you don’t see many of us using Twitter, either.

      Unless you post exclusively things that the media/Left approves of, then it’s a free ride.

      There was a race studies conference last June where amazing things were said, and some of it was broadcasted via Twitter. I’ve been waiting for the ol’ “fair and balanced” media to scream about it, but so far, nothing, and I don’t expect that to change.

      That’s a shame, because the public really has a right to know what much of that $700 billion $900 billion  $1.1 trillion 1.4 trillion (it’s moving up so fast now I nearly have to correct the number in real time) in student loan money has been spent on. Higher education used to be about formal academic subjects like mathematics, science, and philosophy, but now wide swaths of campus are dedicated to “race studies” fiefdoms that, honest, really aren’t helping anyone, much less humanity.

      So let’s look at some of the things said at this conference:

     Any professor who said the above, but exchanged the words “whiteness” and “blackness” would be fired immediately. I’m going to assume by “white” here and elsewhere, what is being referenced Is European culture/people. For what it’s worth, white history is pretty violent…but every single continent with humans on it has a pretty violent history. So, while I don’t fundamentally disagree with Dr. Warren here, I’m not sure it paints an even remotely accurate picture.

      One of the many issues with Tweets is it’s hard to give a complete thought. Nevertheless, it’s hard to parse the initial tweet of this into coherence.

      One of the things I like about Tweets is people can respond. The responses to the above are pretty good (I’ve just included the first few). Isn’t it sad that the claims of a highly paid Berkeley professor are so casually destroyed? I can’t even imagine a mathematics professor saying something in his field that anyone can validly refute with minimal effort.

           The above is the sort of thing that scares me. The whole point of a university is for people to get together and share ideas. If only one idea is allowed, why should we even have universities?

      Another detail: calling someone a “racist” has lost its power. The slur is tired now, and needs a rest. So, it’s clear they’re shifting to a new slur, “white supremacist,” which will now be used to attack anyone who disagrees with the One True Thought.

      Bottom line, 2016 is The Year The Left Lost. Despite control of the media, the public schools, and higher education, the people still refused to go along with their insanity. The response to Trump winning that last election was tears, and this is not hyperbole on my part—you can find more than enough YouTube videos of them quite literally crying about it, in addition to the (9 months long, and counting) tantrum the Left—and that includes the mainstream media—has continuously thrown.

      What we’re seeing here is projection, although, truth be told, I’m really not seeing a whole lot of white people crying about…what, exactly?

      Now we come to the tweet justifying the title of this post:

     It’s easy to dismiss the above as just some stupid thing a stupid person said on a stupid way to communicate but…Professor Scheurich got his degree through research, right? I just don’t understand, why are we paying big bucks for “knowledge” that is little more than shouting and threats, and represents nothing more than the mysticism anyone can divine simply by smoking $10 of recreational chemicals? I’m not trying to be critical here, but I just don’t see why we should have it both ways.

     The above is ultimately the issue. There’s an undercurrent of violence here, protected by a dusting of order. All too often on our campuses, and now in our cities, the order disappears and these people turn very violent, and they do so because the ideology believes in violence as a justification for itself.

      Trump gives the slightest hint of violence in a tweet (as per the goofy wrestling meme) and the media goes nuts for days on end, but here we have a whole conference of people giving pro-violence, pro-racist Tweets, and the media response is…silence.

      While I’m at it, an odd detail comes to mind. It took CNN less than 24 hours to track down the guy who made the meme that insulted them, and “politely ask” him to apologize and stop doing it. I ask the gentle reader to keep that in mind the next time you see a wild “conspiracy theory” claim that could easily be debunked if only the media could find the time, but instead they respond to fairly straightforward assertions about the ridiculousness of government/media claims with…silence.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

“Sexually Harassing” Test Question = 504 Day Investigation

By Professor Doom

     I can’t emphasize enough how scary it is to work in higher education. Granted, if you’re an administrator, you’re guaranteed pay raises and advancement no matter how poorly you do your job, but if you’re an academic, you’re on eggshells all the time.

     The reason for this is our systems are loaded down with bureaucrats whose very job is to find faculty guilty of something, and punish them for it. The most trivial accusation by a student causes insanities1 of administrators to swoop in and justify their job.

       Allow me to set the scene for the latest. A law professor asks a test question. It’s a multiple choice legal question, and I’ll put a snippet here:

P owned and member managed “Day Spa & Massage Therapy Company, LLC.” P catered to men and women. Among other services, P offered Brazilian and bikini waxes – sometimes called “Sphynx,” bare waxing, or Hollywood waxing…

--it’s a long and detailed question, as this course is training in advanced skills.

     Now, I granted the question has a vaguely sexual nature, but this sort of stuff comes up often in lawsuits, so it doesn’t seem overboard. The question offers a choice of 4 answers, after it describes the case in detail, regarding whether there was harassment:

(A) Yes, because T had established that A was a servant who was placed into A’s position as an Aesthetician, which enabled A to harm to T.
(B) No, because T expressly and impliedly consented to A touching T in any manner that was reasonable for A to provide the FB service that T requested.
(C) Yes, because P benefited from the revenue paid by T to P for services performed by A.
(D) No.

     This is the kind of stuff legal students should know. Two students complained about the nature of the question. In the olden days, admin would be an actual faculty member, would take 5 minutes to look at the question, and tell the students to calm down and focus on learning.

      But now we have whole fiefdoms whose entire purpose is to search out and investigate in the manner of a witch hunt. The fiefdoms also get to mete out punishments, and even administer those punishments…the gentle reader can guess how often faculty are found guilty in this system.

      First comes the investigation:

     I emphasize: 504 days to investigate the students’ complaint, over one test question, a question that takes all of 5 minutes to read. Again, actual faculty would have dismissed the case, because actual faculty care about education and research (i.e., the whole point of higher education), and not so much about not making students uncomfortable.

      But admin cares about justifying their job, so you’d better believe they’ll spend well over a year, blowing a million or more of student loan money on what should have been a trivial investigation. It isn’t just the faculty under investigation who live in fear: we all know that stepping out of line, an invisible line only administrators can see, could just as easily subject any us to a year or more of purgatory.

    So, the committee of witch hunters takes forever to investigate (read?) this one frickin’ question. Well, at least we can take comfort in that, given how much time admin put into it, they’ll come to the right decision and dismiss the complaint, right?

     No way:

…administrators determined that Robinson would be required to undergo mandatory sensitivity training, prior administrative review of future test questions, and classroom observation. Robinson also received a stern warning that any further “violations” of the university’s Title IX policies may result in his termination.

     What a beating! I’ve talked about that “sensitivity training” before, it’s excruciating. He’ll have a further humiliation of needing administrative approval for his test questions, and classroom observations. The gentle reader needs to know how nerve-wracking it is to have clueless admin sit in your class and tell you how to do your job (I remember spending a decade at a community college, and every “classroom observation” was given by an utterly unqualified administrator, who nevertheless felt the need to make idiotic suggestions every year).

      You want to bet every other professor on that campus will make sure nothing (arbitrarily) objectionable comes up in their class? How do you teach anything if you can’t push boundaries even a tiny bit?

     Look, I’m no fan of lawyers, but we really do need to train these people to deal with unsavory questions. The chilling effect here is not restricted to just this one school, because out-of-control administrative fiefdoms occupy many schools. It’s why professors are reluctant to teach rape law—if one student doesn’t like the topic, even though it’s the subject of the course, he could have his career destroyed.

     The institution here does have a free speech policy, and promises to grant it to faculty. I’ve never seen administration honor policy when it gets in their way, in fact, I’ve seen them violate policy at every opportunity where doing so is in their favor.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote to Howard on June 16 demanding that Robinson’s sanctions be removed. Howard did not respond by FIRE’s June 30 deadline.

--of course they didn’t…why should they care at all?

     The professor can certainly try to fight for what should be an obvious right to ask questions but I know what will happen if he tries to appeal the ruling of the insanity…they’re reject it. This just isn’t a system designed for fairness, it’s designed to support and reinforce administrative power in every way.

     The decision for professor Robinson here is if he wants to undergo the punishments, or take his own employer to court, which, naturally, could take a year or more to resolve.

      Focusing on how this matters to the typical reader: why would you want your kid to pay $100,000 to get anything at all out of such an insane system?

  1)    Just as there are schools of fish, murders of crows, and prides of lions, I propose a word to describe a group of administrators: insanity. I’m open to other suggestions, for readers that would like to make some.